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Meet The River Hawks

Young Falcons Are Now Soaring High!

Unable to reach the nest box, Jane (with arrow) spent Saturday and Sunday on top of the Recreation Center.

Unable to reach the nest box, Jane (with arrow) spent Saturday and Sunday on top of the Recreation Center.

06/23/2015


As of Monday, June 22, all four juvenile falcons are now able to fly high around Fox Hall, roosting on the antenna tower as well as on nearby buildings. The two males were the first to fledge (take flight). The two females, who are slightly bigger and heavier than their siblings, were last since it took them longer to strengthen their wing muscles.

The brood had some scary moments this past week. On Friday morning, June 19, the chicks got spooked when workers removed the scaffolding from the side of Fox Hall next to the nest box, and the birds flew off in different directions. The two males eventually made it back safely to the nest later that day, but the two females couldn’t reach the top of the 18-story building. One landed on the staircase where she was captured by volunteer falcon watchers Ursula and David Goodine and then brought to the roof by Anne Gagnon of Mass Fisheries & Wildlife.

The other female, nicknamed “Jane,” landed on top of a tree in the parking lot where she decided to spend the night. Falcon watchers Imelda Joson and Edwin Aguirre kept a close watch on Jane that entire weekend, from 6:30 a.m. till close to midnight, making sure she was safe from predators and passing cars.

Falcon Chick "Jane" Now Safe & Sound

Merri feeds Jane with a pigeon.

Merri feeds Jane with a pigeon.

06/23/2015


On Saturday, Jane tried to fly up to the nest at least eight times but failed. She ended up slamming her head and body against the side of the building or the windows. Luckily, she wasn’t seriously hurt, just stunned. Battered and exhausted, Jane decided to stay put on top of the nearby Recreation Center. Merri kept flying overhead, calling out to Jane to entice her to return to the nest, but Jane didn’t have the energy.

That night, rain started to pour and continued well into Sunday. Jane was now soaked, cold and starving. She had not eaten for two days, and her chances of survival were starting to look slim. Joson and Aguirre were so relieved to see Merri finally coming to Jane’s rescue. Merri brought her a pigeon and started feeding her. Only after Jane was full did Merri take the pigeon to the rooftop of Fox to feed her other chicks. Such motherly love!

The following day, Jane’s survival instinct kicked into high gear and she was able to fly 18 stories to the nest to rejoin her family. With all chicks now flying, pretty soon they will start venturing farther from the nest, exploring new buildings in Lowell and the North Campus as they hone their flying skills. Merri and Lance are still feeding the chicks. Soon they will teach them how to hunt small birds on their own.

Follow updates on Twitter @UMLHawkWatch and @Edwelda.